Ono Pharma Breakthrough Science Initiative Awards

Funding Agency:
Ono Pharma Foundation

Ono Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. is a leading global healthcare company committed to delivering new, innovative pharmaceutical products to patients and championing the fight against disease and pain. Ono Pharmaceutical carries out these goals in cooperation with researchers, patients, their families, and healthcare providers.

The Ono Pharma Foundation was established to support academic research in relevant scientific fields, which have the potential of making significant impact on therapeutic approaches to disease and pain management. The Foundation’s competitive awards program, the Ono Pharma Breakthrough Science Initiative Awards Program (“Ono Initiative”), is the embodiment of the Foundation’s commitment to focus on and accelerate researcher-driven open innovation by supporting high-risk and high-reward science research projects which have potential to lead to science discoveries/solutions and, possibly, based on further research, to breakthrough treatments for patients.

Each Nominating Institution may nominate up to two (2) applicants in Chemical Biology Research. 

Potential applicants should consult with Steve Murray, Foundation Relations (stephen.murray@duke.edu) before applying.


  • Duke Internal: Dec. 18, 2020
  • Required Letter of Intent: Feb. 18, 2021
  • Invited Proposal due date: May 18, 2021

Areas of Interest

Annually, the Ono Pharma Foundation considers proposals from PIs for research that could ultimately transform human health. Although additional areas of research may be added in future years, in 2021 the Ono Pharma Foundation will only consider proposals for scientific research projects addressing the following field of science: • Chemical Biology Research

Target research of Chemical Biology is not specified. Chemical Biology is defined as research that deals with the interface between chemistry and biology. The criteria for this field are deliberately broad so as not to disqualify potentially innovative and groundbreaking projects.

Eligibility Requirements

• PIs applying must be working at one of the nominating institutions. Nominating institutions might be replaced or added to in subsequent years.
• The PI must have a MD and/or a PhD degree.
• The PI must be a young and/or mid-career scientist (15 years or below of experience from starting independent academic position).
• The PI may not already be engaged in other sponsored research with Ono Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. and/or grant program with Ono Pharma Foundation.
• The PI may not apply for funding to amplify current work. However, PIs may research a new idea based on a prior finding of the PI.

Amount Description

Applications comprising laboratory investigation will be considered. Project duration may last up to three years with annual funding of $300,000/year, totaling a maximum of $900,000 for the normal term of a research project.

The Ono Pharma Foundation will provide up to a maximum of an additional 15% ($45,000) per year of the funding to be used for indirect costs of the PI’s institution. The total amount of the three-year grant would be up to $1,035,000.

Funding Type



Junior Faculty


Engineering and Physical Sciences
Environmental & Life Sciences
Medical - Basic Science

Internal Nomination

Owing to the sponsor's restriction on the number of applications that may be submitted from Duke, anyone wishing to pursue nomination should submit the following materials as one PDF.

NIH Biosketch of project leader (including current/pending grant support)
1 - 1.5 pg. statement of “Vision for Proposed Research"

Please submit internal materials through My Research Proposal. (Code ILN) https://www.grantinterface.com/sl/EHLQ8p

Instructions for both creating an account (if you don't already have one) and submitting your materials can be found here: https://www.ctsi.duke.edu/myresearchproposal

Internal Deadline

December 18, 2020

External Deadline

February 18, 2021